Training

I offer training and advice for clergy, employees and parishioners regarding managing relationships within Our Diocesan Family, development of parish or project-based Communications Plans, and facilitation of discussions and ‘brainstorming’ sessions.

Communications is primarily about creating and maintaining positive human relationships – and plays a vital role in helping to heal them if things have gone wrong.  Just like Safeguarding and Health & Safety, Communications is ‘everybody’s business’ – and is similarly an intrinsic part of a healthy culture of caring safely for others in our Diocesan Family and beyond.

Christ has no other hands, feet or face on earth but ours, so how we communicate with others – and with one another – really matters! We know the many charitable activities and creative initiatives in our diverse homes, schools and parishes are motivated by Faith, Hope and Love – and through telling our ‘good news stories’ as widely as possible, we share that Faith, Hope and Love with others.

Communicating the Goodness, Beauty and Truth inherent in our Catholic faith is ‘evangelisation by example’; but on occasions when, as with all human institutions, we inevitably fail or fall short, our communications need to be guided by clarity, honesty, humility and transparency. 

In addition, I also offer training in all aspects of press and media relations: the importance of interviewees with ‘lived experience’ rather than ‘official spokespeople’; how to write targeted press releases, statements, and programme proposals; interview technique; and also how to deal with press and media attention, both positive and negative (although in the first instance, please always direct any filming requests or approaches from press or media to me at communications@dioceseofleeds.org.uk).

For non-contentious matters, it’s much better when parishes and schools which are the main proponents of an initiative use their own specialist knowledge and enthusiasm to promote it themselves, using local press and media. This has the added benefit of forming positive, cordial relationships with local journalists who in turn will welcome reliable ‘contacts’ within their community. I am happy to provide training and advice on how to tailor and target your written stories and engaging photographs, to give them the best chance of being published by local reporters – and by national Catholic press.

Maintaining close relationships with the press and media and providing wherever possible information and suitable interviewees from among the laity and the clergy is a form of ‘soft evangelisation’. It can dispel pre- and mis-conceptions about Catholicism and increase understanding among the general public.

Other training provided, at the invitation of parish clergy, includes tuition, support and encouragement for new and regular parish Readers and Ministers of the Word.

As with all Diocesan Communications’ services, training is FREE; it can be one-to-one or for a group and can take place either in person at Hinsley Hall, or in your parish or school, or online.